Houston County shenanigans notwithstanding, I have compiled some interesting statistics about the race between Jim Marshall and Mac Collins. Marshall’s district was greatly changed, he only retained about 50% of the original district he ran in. What was significant for Marshall was the Macon television market, where he receives lots of coverage. North Bibb voters were not in Marshall’s old district, but he may as well have been their Congressman as they constantly see him on TV and in the community serving in that capacity.
Voters in Albany and Atlanta markets were just introduced to Marshall, and they lean Republican. However, Marshall now has 2 years to “get to know” these voters through television coverage, constituent services and the general powers of incumbency. In counties in the Albany market, Collins racked up a margin of 3,625 votes over Marshall. In the 3 Atlanta counties that margin was 3,393. But in the counties that make up the Macon media market, Marshall racked up an enormous 9,025 margin. Even in Republican rich Houston county, Marshall got just shy of 46% (you will recall I said Houston’s total would be more interesting than the overall total, guess I was partly wrong).
So Republicans that want to challenge Marshall in ’08 have a dilemma: I don’t believe they can possibly do better in the Atlanta or Albany media markets after Marshall has 2 years and the power of incumbency, so it makes little sense to recruit a candidate from Newton County or Moultrie. But then again, Marshall’s standing seems to be so solidified in the Macon market that I’m not sure a Cecil Staton type can cut into it that much, and someone like that wouldn’t be able to rely on the big margins from the other parts of the district.
I give it to the Republicans, redistricting almost worked. You introduced new Republican leaning voters who weren’t familiar with Marshall and Barrow’s conservative record. But they will be. The only question is, will Republican redistrict again, or finally call it quits in what, on the Congressional level, is basically a well balanced state delegation? (Democrats received 45% of all Congressional votes in Georgia, which translated into an almost identical 46% of Georgia’s Congressional seats.)